Fat-Shaming: The Last Acceptable Prejudice…

I have always hated the word “fat”.  When people would call me it as a kid/teenager/adult that dreaded hay fever eye burning would immediately cause welling and I’d have to run and hide until the crying jag would pass.  Tender heart?  Thin skin?  Wimp?  Maybe…  Why does a 3-letter word stating truth bother me so much?  I never figured that out as a kid or as a teenager, but as an adult, I had a brief moment of clarity one time (brief is the key word when used in the same sentence as clarity with me) and it hit me like a runaway turnip truck.  It’s the word “fat” used in the following way that I can’t take.

You are fat.  

She is fat.  

I am fat.  

Except… I am NOT fat… I have fat (enough to feed a couple of small villages in Africa)… but I am not my fat.  I also have boogers, but I am not boogers!  It’s ridiculous when you use boogers in that way… and yet fat gets batted around like a Mike Tyson fight at an Ears, Nose, and Throat Doctor Convention.

I’ve let that word define me for so long it’s sometimes hard to see/know who I really am.  I am a daughter (of God and my parents)… a sister… a friend… a cousin… an aunt… a person.  At times I am big-hearted, kind, funny, hard-working, talented, smart.  At other times I am stubborn, bull-headed, anxiety-ridden, impatient.  I am someone worth knowing.  I am more than my outside appearance.  I am Whitney Lyn… the good and the bad all rolled into a giant ball of fluff and heart.

But I am not fat.

A few months ago I happened upon a 2-part docuseries called Fat and Back.  The lady on the show (I hate to use her name because it only gives her more publicity but for the sake of anyone’s curiosity, her name is Katie Hopkins) openly and proudly claims she hates fat people.  She would not hire a fat person to work for her… she would not be friends with a fat person.  In her mind, people who have fat are put into a category one tier beneath people with plague and Robert Durst.  The purpose of her documentary was to prove to fat people that they are lazy losers who should be able to lose weight like it weren’t no thing.  So, she set out to gain something like 40 pounds in 3 months. The 2nd part of her Loser-mentary was her trying to lose the weight over the course of 3 months.  Proof to no one but her ignorant self.  If losing weight were just about the trite calories in versus calories out diatribe, we’d all by Cindy Crawford on Nutrisystem.

She has failed to take into account the “why”.  Why people gain weight is the biggest hurdle to jump over… and even when you think you’ve figured out the why and have cleared said hurdle, it can all come crashing down on you.  Having fat is my lifelong cross to bear… and it’s not because I am lazy or I am purposely sitting on my aspercreme amidst a pool of Mallomars every night.  It’s because of my “why”… and my why will be a lifelong struggle.  It’s my biggest trial and I accepted it before I came down to this Earth.  I told God I would take it… and He knew I could handle it… because He doesn’t give us more than we can handle.  The difference between our trials is I wear mine on the outside… yours you may be able to bury deep inside… and if I can find a way to bury mine deep inside, I’ll have invented the last “die”t drug this world will ever need.

My plea is that we as a society stop thinking of fat-shaming as an acceptable prejudice.  We’ve all done it.  Looked at someone walking down the street and commented on their size/shape… but have we ever stopped to realize that there is an actual person with feelings and hopes and dreams living beneath that burdensome exterior?

I will never be accepting of my “fat”… I’ll forever wake up each morning ready to start anew on the journey to the svelte woman in my imagination… but in the meantime, you all can call me Whitney… not fat.

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27 Comments

Filed under Getting A Life

27 responses to “Fat-Shaming: The Last Acceptable Prejudice…

  1. cl2

    What to say! There is so much I could say, but I can’t as I sit here crying. I’m sure glad you came to work at ITS. You are one of the people I’ve so enjoyed!! As you know, I, too, struggle with fat. Those who have never walked in our shoes can NEVER know. I must add that my dad dealt with fat as long as I can remember. He was and always will be the best man, strongest man I’ve ever met. His sister was always there for me in the bad years. She also dealt with fat. Thank you for writing this.

  2. cl2

    I want to add that my father taught school and then farmed after school. He worked harder than any man I have ever known and he still dealt with fat. I’m weary of the prejudices, too.

  3. Great post….you forgot to add that you are strong, a famous actor, a beautiful talented singer and many more. Thanks for sharing.

  4. kim

    Love it! I got about 5 minutes into that “documentary” and had to stop it. She is an idiot!

  5. Dessa Wade

    That was beautiful Whitney. I think this should be read by more than just your blog followers. Send it in to the paper! You ARE more than your fat! It’s sure hard to remember that on a daily basis.

  6. Alena

    Beautiful Whitney! Thank you! And thank you for being my amazing, talented, hilarious, compassionate friend!

  7. Louisa

    Great post, Whitney.
    Great thoughts and insights and you did a fantastic job conveying it also.
    How right you are. We are not fat. Sure, we all have fat ( some more than others ) but it doesn’t define us.
    If you can believe it, my son was in the same Cub Scout troop yrs ago with a boy whose father was a fat-hater. Keep in mind, he wasn’t exactly GQ material himself but he was very critical if his wife and kids. He would police them at mealtime. If they went back for seconds or dessert at our potluck gatherings, he would tell them they couldn’t. It was uncomfortable for everyone. It was all kinds of weird and backward to be honest. Even at that young age, the kids were getting resentful and embarrassed by his rigidity. He allowed poor choices in food daily but no seconds or desserts, even if they were healthy choices…
    A few years ago, he was diagnosed with Diabetes. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t wish Diabetes on anyone but that diagnosis did bring his way of thinking around to a more normal level.

  8. Karen Smith

    Whitney, This is a very strong blog. You hit the nail on the head. I remember always being called skinny! Put out your tongue and you look like a snake. Hated it. Opposite struggle but one a bit less socially discriminating. You are a great child of God. Hold your head high!

  9. I agree with Dessa. Awesome amazing post. Very well written and thought provoking. You’re absolutely right. Everyone has trials. Some more obvious than others. You’ve done an incredible job overcoming your obstacles.

  10. Amber

    Thanks for the post, I have tried to talk to my kids about the same thing with race but I haven’t said it so clearly, this makes sense and I will forever use it for myself and to teach them. I do think you should send it into the paper, it would help a lot of people.

  11. Jacque

    Wow! You are amazing. What if we all wore our struggles on the outside? Wouldn’t that be a site? Thank you for sharing your incredible self with us.

  12. Erin Sabey

    that was beautiful. we have met, but i don’t think you would remember me. i am in your parent’s ward. forgive me for jumping in and commenting, something i don’t ever recall doing on a blog post of a person i am not closely acquainted with. however, i was really moved by this. what you wrote resonated with me. there is so much more to all of us than what we look like. thank you for being courageous and sharing.

  13. Brilliant post…. Really liked it…

  14. Robin Moritz

    Thank you for writing this, Whitney! I AM are the most powerful words in the world and we all need to remember that “I AM” followed by something negative is NOT who we are at all! Heavenly Father made us to be all things good and amazing… it’s time that we had more people like you who will tell it like it is! Bless you!!

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